Helmut Marko admits fear of ‘top man’ Lewis Hamilton despite ‘going down’

Red Bull will be defending both championships next season after dominating 2022 across all fronts.

Having won their first constructors’ championship since 2013 last season, Red Bull will not want to see it their trophy leave Milton Keynes in the near future.

Max Verstappen’s stunning 15 race wins in 2022 secured him his second consecutive drivers’ title, while strong performances from his teammate Sergio Perez ensured the energy drink giants took home the constructors’ trophy as well.

Red Bull started the year with a massively overweight RB-18, however after working out how to reduce the weight of their car, they managed to surpass Ferrari and comfortably storm to championship glory.

Ferrari looked like the team to beat at the start of 2022, as the Scuderia produced arguably the fastest car on the grid, while Mercedes struggled massively under the new regulations with their uncompetitive W13.

READ: Adrian Newey admits Red Bull ‘put too much’ into Lewis Hamilton fight

Despite the Silver Arrows failures in 2022, which saw them limp to a third placed finish in the championship, Red Bull’s chief advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that his team fear Mercedes more than Ferrari ahead of the 2023 season.

“Definitely Mercedes,” answered Marko when asked who his team are more concerned about ahead of next season.

“As we said at the beginning, they are the more stable squad. And they have [Lewis] Hamilton. Even if it may have gone down this year, it’s a very special number. In the meantime, his lap times have repeatedly shown that he is a top man.

“It’s just the much stronger package than Ferrari.”

Article continues below

Marko has also previously singled out Hamilton as the only driver than he believes can challenge Verstappen for the drivers’ championship in 2023, claiming that Charles Leclerc of Ferrari makes too many mistakes to maintain a title charge.

READ: ‘Bloated’ FIA blasted by driver for ‘meddlesome’ involvement

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has not been afraid of admitting that his team got their design approach to the new regulations completely wrong in 2022, but hopes that the Silver Arrows can use their shortcomings as a learning curve for next year.

The team claim to have been brought back down to earth while watching their rivals win in 2022, however rather than taking a step back, Wolff believes his team have a new level of motivation to get back to winning ways next year.

Lewis Hamilton is set to sign a new contract with the team, meaning that the core of the team will remain exactly the same heading into what will hopefully be a much more successful 2023 for the team.